Chef Rupam Bhagat of Ritu Indian Soul Food and Liam

(Photo credit: Foodie Chap/Liam Mayclem)

Foodie Chap Finds Soul-Satisfying Cuisine Served Up at San Francisco's Ritu

Liam Mayclem
October 30, 2018 - 8:31 am

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS RADIO) - Rupam Bhagat is the chef and owner of Ritu, an Indian soul food restaurant nestled in San Francisco's bustling and diverse Mission District.
 
Chef Bhagat creates "soul-satisfying cuisine" with primarily organic and locally-sourced ingredients, and employs the seasonal offerings at area farmers' markets to shape daily specials that earn their way to the menu.
 
"I believe in the spirit of Indian soul food," says Chef Bhagat. "Food that makes you feel happy, that makes you feel satisfied, a joyful experience that you might not have expected when you walked through the door. That's the experience our customers speak of most often, and in which I take the most pride."
 
A native of Mumbai, Chef Bhagat is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY, with a degree in culinary arts. He began his culinary career a decade ago as a member of kitchen staff of The Ritz-Carlton, Naples, FL. From there, he traveled to Portugal, Bahrain, Reynolds Plantation, GA, and Half Moon Bay, CA, all via The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, ascending to sous chef. At The Ritz-Carlton, Washington, DC, Chef Rupam was honored to cook for the 2010 Presidential Inauguration. A move to the Terranea Resort properties in Los Angeles allowed him to sharpen his skills as a chef de cuisine. 

I met Chef during his tenure at The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon where he worked alongside mentor and friend Executive Chef Xavier Salamon. 

Chef Rupam went solo in 2014 to start Dum, his wildly popular food truck offering interpretations of the beloved Indian food on which he was raised, and on which his 2016 brick-and-mortar venture, Dum Indian Soul Food, was based. Dum expanded its concept to become Ritu Indian Soul Food in June of 2018.
 
"I want guests to come in, to have a great meal and a wonderful time, and to approach their food with an open mind," says Chef Bhagat. "The vision of Ritu is to experience Indian flavors using seasonal ingredients found in the Bay Area. Dishes like Kale Chaat and Tandoori Fried Chicken embody the story of Ritu – dishes that have evolved to satisfy the palate of the melting pot of the Bay area without losing their identity."

Chef Rupam combines his fine dining experience at Ritz Carlton with recipes from his heart and home at Ritu. Check the website for Chefs offerings on various nights. One not to miss is Sunday Supper the last Sunday of the month where Chef works alongside his Mother in the kitchen....bringing a taste of  "home" to the Ritu kitchen.

Enjoy my Foodie Chap chat with a super talented, soulful Chef Rupam Bhagat, serving up Indian Soul Food that shifts with the seasons to San Francisco's Mission Neighbourhood.

Cheers, Liam!

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Chef Bhagat's Steamed Fish with Coconut Crust and Sauce
(Photo credit: Foodie Chap/Liam Mayclem)

Chef Bhagat's Steamed Fish with Coconut Crust and Sauce
Serves 8

Ingredients: 3 lbs seabass  

Chef Bhagat's Steamed Fish with Coconut Crust and Sauce
(Photo credit: Foodie Chap/Liam Mayclem)
For the coconut crust:

  • 10 oz desiccated coconut
  • ¼ bunch of cilantro
  • ¼ bunch of mint
  • 1 serrano chili
  • Juice from 2 lemons
  • 4 tbsp yogurt
  • 2 oz of peeled ginger peeled 
  • Salt & pepper for seasoning

For coconut sauce: 

  • 3 cups coconut milk
  • 2 oz peeled and chopped ginger
  • 10 cloves sliced garlic
  • 2 sliced yellow onions
  • 6 cans crushed tomatoes with liquid
  • ½ cup tamarind
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp black mustard seeds
  • 8 curry leaves
  • 1 cup of water
  • Salt & pepper for seasoning 

Instructions:
For the coconut crust
Combine all ingredients in a blender and puree to a smooth consistency. Add water if needed. Season with salt & pepper to taste. 

For the sauce
Heat oil in a pot. Add mustard seeds. Once seeds start to crackle, add curry leaves, chopped ginger, sliced garlic and roast. Then, add sliced onion and sauté until caramelized. Add crushed tomato, coconut milk, tamarind, sugar and cook for 20-25 minutes. Sauce should coat the back of the spoon. 

Fish preparation
Clean and trim the fish. Coat the fish with the coconut crust puree.  
Place in steamer and cook for 5-7 mins. 

Assemble
Pour the sauce in a shallow bowl. Place the fish on top of the sauce. 
Garnish with cilantro sprigs. 

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Ritu Indian Soul Food
3111 24th Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
www.ritusf.com